Spring break is inching closer and closer, which means plans are starting to take shape for SUU students. Many students may choose to go to Las Vegas for its close proximity and warmth.
But therein lies the problem, many SUU students will choose to go there. This will leave an already smoke filled city with more people in it. This week, we’ll suggest some more peaceful, outdoor places in Nevada that are better options than the Las Vegas, Reno, Carson City or Lake Tahoe area.
Great Basin National Park lies in Eastern Nevada near the small town of Ely. Traveling from Cedar City, take the Minersville highway, then turn onto Highway 21 and follow that to the Utah-Nevada Border. The road will change to Highway 487, which leads into Baker, Nevada. From there, follow Highway 488, which will lead you straight into the park.
Where To Go:
Great Basin National Park has several different hikes to explore. The most popular is Lehman Cave. This trail is less than one-half mile long round trip and offers views similar to those of the Timpanogos Cave hike in Utah County. Be sure to book a tour on the National Parks website however, as this trail is also very heavily trafficked.
The park also a designated International Dark Skies Park. Located in remote Nevada, the park lies in one of the least populated areas in the lower 48 states. This means that the park has little to no light pollution, allowing for a naked eye view of several astronomical phenomena in the universe.
Another adventure is the Wheeler Peak Trail. This trail is rated as hard and is 8.2 miles round trip on the Alltrails website. This hike is not for the faint of heart. There are loose rocks throughout the trail, as well as heavy wind and a full exposure to the sun during the day. Stella Lake also lies on this end of the trail, which will provide a quality resting point and snack break along the way.
There are not many hotels in Baker, so consider staying in Ely. Baker also does not have many places to eat, so consider eating out in Ely, or bringing your own food. The park has no entrance fee and also offers camping for $15-30 a night, depending on the site rented.
- Bring your own food for the park. Ely is about 90 minutes away and although that isn’t too far, the constant driving will catch up with you.
- Make a plan. March can still be cold at higher elevations, so be sure to plan out which hikes to do beforehand.
Dress warm. Again, it can still be cold. Don’t be caught on a high elevation hike when it suddenly gets cold. You’ll regret it.
Silver Springs lies a little ways outside of Reno, but does not lie within the city limits.
What to Do:
The town of Silver Springs lies right on the shore of Lake Lahontan, which is also a state park. The park is one of the most popular areas in Nevada to boat, other than Lake Mead. Hunting, fishing, and camping are also available activities.
Just down the road from the lake is Fort Churchill State Historic Park. The park provides a historic look into an old U.S. army fort built in 1861. The fort was originally used to help guard Pony Express mail runs. The park also offers several hikes as well.
Silver Springs has several of possible hotels, as does the nearby town of Fallon. The parks also offer camping for around $15 a night for those that are interested. Each park is also has a $5 entrance fee.
- Have a BBQ. A day by the lake is always nice, but the experience of cooking your own food over a BBQ adds to the experience
Explore. How many times are you really going to be back here? It’s an eight hour drive from Cedar City. Get familiar with the area and make yourself want to comeback even more.
Kershaw-Ryan State Park lies south of Panaca and slightly past the town of Caliente. The park is less than two hours from Cedar City, providing a nice day trip for those that don’t want to leave for too long.
What to do:
The park provides a great spot for camping, as well as a hike that takes you through the canyon. Although Alltrails only lists one trail, several hikers have stated that there are several more trails to explore in the park.
During the summer hikers should be aware of rattlesnakes that call the Nevada desert their home.
Camping is also available in the park. The sites also provide coin-operated showers, a shade ramada, grill and picnic table. A 30 day stay period is also established in the park.
The park also has a $5 entrance fee. Both Panaca and Caliente do not have many places to eat, so plan on your bringing your own food unless you want to have gas station hot dogs. Camping is $15 dollars per night.
- Stay awhile. It’s spring break, have some fun on the break. The park is a hidden gem, being in a remote part of Nevada, so enjoy it while you can.
- Bring plenty of water. It’s the Nevada desert, there isn’t a lot of water around. Have enough to drink for at least a few days, and expect to use more.
Story By: Kurt Meacham
Feature Photo Courtesy of: Samanthabrown.com